Outrageously Creative Costumes for Language Lovers

Grammar Reaper

Just as the Grim Reaper is a spectral portend of a person’s death, the Grammar Reaper foretells someone’s tragic end as a writer. Instead of reaping souls, the Grammar Reaper confiscates all notebooks, papers, writing implements, and electronics; he seizes the offender’s voice, prevents the shaping of words with the mouth, and diminishes any cognitive ability to communicate in sign language. Communication is dead.

Costume: The Grammar Reaper is cloaked in reams of college-ruled paper, so soaked in blood, sweat, and tears, he staggers under the weight. He carries a giant dripping red pen, retrofitted with the whirring blades of a pencil sharpener.

The Book Burner or The Burning Book

Book burning has been practiced for thousands of years to censor, silence, and destroy. It’s petrifying. The Book Burner, threatened by opposing ideas, will do whatever it takes to collect and destroy all writings which elevate contradictory, dangerous notions.

Costume: The Book Burner wears a creepy montage of firefighter’s garb, religious robe, and military uniform. The face is covered in sweat and ashes, with eyes ablaze in hatred. The Burning Book is a huge charred replica of something wonderful (a favorite, lifeblood book).

Banned Books List

What’s scary about the Banned Books List is that masterpieces like Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass have been banned in some schools. Trying to silence these remarkable voices is a futile task, but it points to the terrifying notion of controlling knowledge, of creating a hegemony of robotic thought and influence.

Costume: The Banned Books List wears a long white flowing robe with an extended train to accommodate as many printed names of banned books as possible. The robe won’t be nearly long enough.

Run-On Sentence

On a lighter note, the Run-On Sentence presents a scary problem of a different sort, the kind that easily embraces spooky and spoofy (like Jordan Peele’s Get Out). People usually think of the run-on as a lengthy line, but a short sentence can commit the error just as easily: “She has lots of crayons, she’s artsy.” Here's a tip: a run-on contains at least two independent clauses that are incorrectly joined together.

Costume: The Run-On Sentence is a mummy wrapped in a single strip of cloth on which is written the longest non-sentence comprising as many incorrectly-joined clauses as there’s room for. Occasionally, the Run-On has one period mark that appears hidden (maybe lost in the gluteal region).

Literally

The rabid (mis)use of this word literally every day makes Literally a face-scrunching, spine-chilling, bloodcurdling lexical monster. Linguists fear the overwhelming misusage of “literally” to mean “figuratively” will result in a literal takeover of the original meaning of literally. That is a ghoulish prospect.

Costume: To accommodate the human form, Literally appears as a giant sign in which the words F-I-G-U-R-A-T-I-V-E-L-Y are barely visible beneath the splashy letters spelling its name. Doodled in every empty space are lines like “I’m literally throwing up in my mouth right now,” “He’s literally the greatest thing since sliced bread."

Misplaced Apostrophe

Language lovers fear the Misplaced Apostrophe. They start sweating and quivering in their boots when they see the punctuation imp poke it’s tiny head where it does’nt belong—see? You’re quaking in pain right now because that rascal wedged itself in the wrong place twice. In front of a grocery store advertising “apple’s,” “potato’s,” and other “fruit’s and vegetables’,” a tormented passerby writhes on the ground chanting “make it stop make it stop make it stop…”

Costume: The Misplaced Apostrophe dresses as a sandwich board in the shape of itself (i.e. a giant apostrophe) with large letters that extend off the board on either side. The letters spell a word with the giant apostrophe in the wrong place (like “DO NT”).

Dangling Modifier

Modifiers are useful descriptive tools, capable of enlivening target words, concepts, or characters with additional details. But when modifiers dangle, writing can swiftly become phantasmagorical. “Dropping the keys, the ham sandwich was squished as she bent over.” What fearsome sight is this?! A female ham sandwich who drops her keys and smashes herself while stooping? Sometimes the target gets lost in the sauce. If The Grammar Reaper were benevolent in any way, he’d correct this sentence to something like: “Dropping the keys, the woman bent over and squished her sandwich in the process.”

Costume: Despite how complicated the Dangling Modifier can be, its outfit is a go-to for those on the run. It wears a large mortarboard cap mounted with the word “MODIFIER.” One giant tassel spills down its face, composed of several paper streamers marked “DANGLING.”

Sentence Fragments

In contemporary writing, Sentence Fragments, if used judiciously, aren’t nearly as terrifying as they once were. Boo. See? Not scary. However, as with gratuitous violence on screen, an indiscriminate use of sentence fragments is abominable. Unbearable. Hard to stomach. Harder to read. Especially if repeated. Like so. Again. And Again. Forever.

Costume: If Sentence Fragment feels like being singular, he’ll sport a giant sign bearing “FRAGMENT.” The period is very important! Otherwise, he’ll be outfitted with multiple fragments of sentences. He’s also been spotted dressed as an exploding bomb with the letters spelling “SENTENCE” erupting on wires all around him.

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